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PlantFiles: Beauty Bush
Kolkwitzia amabilis

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Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Kolkwitzia (kol-KWIT-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: amabilis (a-MAH-bih-liss) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

25 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Shrubs

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Deciduous
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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Profile:

16 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Emerogork On Oct 5, 2014, Emerogork from Wethersfield, CT wrote:

Now that I looked up, I guess it is not supposed to be surviving here in zone 4! It has been here for over 50 years and, yes, is a huge mass of bloom. It is about 15' tall.

Most of my plants have to perform beyond their original attraction though.

I bind it up and clip the lower branches and it stands up looking like a huge pineapple. Close in front of it I have a large bridal wreath. They blend in very well, one cascading over the other.

In front of this I have Lychnis jenny adding more pink at the base. Sorry, no pic available at the moment. Maybe in June....

Positive lilsmidge71 On Jun 7, 2014, lilsmidge71 from Athol, ID wrote:

This is one of my favorite bushes. I grew it in my last yard and it was a show stopper. People literally stopped their cars and looked in my yard to see it. It smells like vanilla and blooms for almost 2 whole months. After 10 years I trimmed the dead stuff and it got even more gorgeous. In my new yard I have rocky clay soil and it grows with hardly any water in full sun out in the middle of nowhere and I currently have 14 of them. I like them on either side of pathways. They make an awesome tunnel over the pathway.

Positive pattipinetree On Jun 2, 2014, pattipinetree from Kincardine, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

Until this year this plant has been an incredible asset to our garden. It is approximately 40 years old; height is 10 - 12 feet; about 25 feet in circumference. We had a very tough winter this year and have lost about 20% of the branches. Now that we are having warm weather some of the leaves which had appeared are withering and dying. Any solutions to save this beautiful bush? (We regularly prune at least 25% of the plant to keep it manageable and have cut all dead limbs already this year. It is also on a drip system.)

Neutral coriaceous On May 29, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Dirr says it's hardy in Z4.

This is an old-fashioned shrub. The flower display, though brief (2 weeks at most, here in Boston Z6), is undeniably beautiful. And it's a vigorous and adaptable shrub. Flowering is best in full sun.

It used to be very popular between the world wars, but it's a very big shrub (easily 10' x 10', sometimes reaching 15') that went out of fashion when yards got smaller after WWII. It blooms in mid-late May here, when the competition with other flowering shrubs is fierce.

Out of bloom, I find this shrub undistinguished. Fall color is an undistinguished yellow.

This shrub has a naturally graceful, broadly arching vase shape that's destroyed by attempts to hold it to a smaller size. When stems are cut part way back, they develop clusters of branches that look like a witch's broom.

It blooms on the previous year's growth. To avoid cutting off flower buds, you can do any necessary pruning shortly after bloom. It will also need periodic deadwooding.

I recommend planting this only where you have the space to let it grow the way it wants to. To keep it from getting bare legs, renew it every few years by pruning out some of the oldest stems close to the ground.

Positive bobbieberecz On May 28, 2014, bobbieberecz from Concrete, WA wrote:

When I first saw this stunning bush smothered in flowers and towering to at least 15 feet, I was told by the owner that she thought it was a weigela. I spent a year looking for extra tall weigela to no avail. Meanwhile, I had planted a "beauty bush" that in it's youth looked woefully scraggly with branches flopping every which way. It was planted in morning sun and all afternoon shade. When it started blooming I recognized those shell pink flowers and my heart skipped a beat!! The owner of the original bush I saw gave me an off-shoot of her bush and it is taking off in full sun. The part shade plant is also growing rapidly but not as dense. At one point my friend was tired of the bush's enormity and cut it to the ground. That season it grew more than 10 feet in her rich soil! Both of my bushes are smothered with blooms. Neither gets spoiled with attention each seems perfectly happy in their spots. The blooms on the part shade bush lasted for 6 weeks last year. I have sandy loam soil that is treated with nutritious mulch, though the part shade one only has bark. I'm so happy I just planted another one in the hottest, driest area of the yard and am waiting to see how it handles it.

Positive hollyho On Mar 13, 2013, hollyho from West Branch, IA wrote:

Found this dormant vase-shaped shrub when we moved into our house. I thought it was too close to the foundation so cut it all down early that spring. Later in spring it started new growth and amazed us with profuse light pink flowers, not un-like snapdragons. It has been a source of great pleasure for going on 30 years, its' upright, arching branches reaching 15+ feet and it has peeling paper-like bark that makes it interesting all year round.

Positive arcattle On Jun 19, 2011, arcattle from Harmony, IN wrote:

The ice of winter finally killed my 4 yr old bush back to the ground this past February, but it has now spread to 5 feet wide (!) and is getting taller every day! Now I'm trying to figure how to get it out of the space it's outgrown! They birds do love the berries!

Positive Alchris On Mar 12, 2009, Alchris from Edmonton, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

This plant has survived 3 winters without protection in my Zone 3a garden. I started it from seed and it has grown to 30 inches tall. There are no flowers yet.

Positive pajaritomt On Jan 2, 2009, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have two of these plants, still quite young -- One is about 3 years old and blooms a bit, the other will be 2 years old this summer. But what impresses me is how easy they are to grow here. These have not had the best soil -- neutral to slightly alkaline, and very little organic matter and very sporadic watering. Yet both are growing nicely. Other examples in my area are stunning and mine show ever sign that they, too will be just as stunning some day.

Positive Overwhelmed On Jul 20, 2008, Overwhelmed from North Olmsted, OH wrote:

Our one shrub is over 20 years old, approximately 12 feet tall . It is in close proximity to 2 Black Walnut trees. When in bloom it is breathtaking and the scent wafts through the house since it is near a livingroom window. Wish it had a longer bloom period.

Positive taramark On Jun 17, 2008, taramark from (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have grown this beauty for over ten years in Zone 4.

From seed, even in year 2, it did was very hardy.

Positive jcangemi On Apr 20, 2008, jcangemi from Clovis, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Stunning in a large container here, in an area with some other unruly culprits in pots, i.e. bamboo. That probably is keeping the size down somewhat. Very minimal pruning just to keep it out of the pathway, and the bloom is outstanding. Winters over in container with no protection here in Zone 9, with typical winter temps of upper 20's to mid 30's.

Positive CaptMicha On Jun 16, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

My Kolkiwitias are 3-4 years old started from seed. They haven't even flowered yet but I'm already impressed.

I planted them away from the house where the sun seems to get the hottest and the soil the driest and nothing phases it.

The foliage isn't at all unattractive and it's even evergreen in my zone.

Update May 20, 2007:

The plant I have in the front of the house in full sun has finally flowered and the flowers are gorgeous. They have a heavenly, sweet scent. The flowers are lasting pretty long too and show no sign of fading yet.

The bush I have in the backyard that gets a little bit of shade hasn't flowered.

This plant really holds up in hot and dry situations, humid and hot situations, soggy soil and dry soil and cold winters. VERY easy and rewarding to grow.

New update May 2012:
Um, wow. This has become one of my all time favorite plants. There's nothing to dislike about it. Every year both shrubs, in full sun and part sun, are just shrouded in masses of flowers.

The shape of the shrub usually is pretty uniform and pleasing. I'm considering pruning one to correct the uniformity of it's branching habit. However, they really don't seem to require pruning for any other reason or even any upkeep at all.

Insects, disease and weather are never a problem. I don't fertilize or water them. They get grass clippings that get blown their way when the lawn is mown.

It doesn't reseed or creep at all, however you can easily make clones. Even cuttings are easy.

The only thing that could make this plant better would be if it provided fruit or something edible to enjoy.

Positive andycdn On Feb 5, 2006, andycdn from Ottawa, ON (Zone 4b) wrote:

This very striking shrub is borderline hardy in Ottawa, Canada (just 100 miles north of Lake Ontario). I've had some die-back some years, but it's very well established and grows to about 6x6 ft. here, in a sandy, somewhat acidic soil. Features long arching branches smothered in blooms for about 3 weeks in June. Smells like mothballs, so just feast your eyes and not your nose!

Positive DaylilySLP On Jun 4, 2005, DaylilySLP from Dearborn Heights, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

The height is listed as 4-6 foot. My son has 2 in his yard.
We don't know how old they are buy they are at least 12 feet high x 10 feet wide! This is in Michigan!
They are beautiful while in bloom.

Positive ToddNewbie On Jun 1, 2003, ToddNewbie from Troy, MI wrote:

We have 15'-20' tall beauty bushes growing next to our home and they more than live up to their name. Finches and small songbirds love to nest in them due to their complex branching. Can be used as a privacy screen. Pruning can be done if structure is desired but natural growth is more desirable especially if sun can get to the base of the plant. The more shade in the environment, the more unruly the branching seems to be.

Positive lupinelover On Jan 3, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

The breath-takingly beautiful flowers on this shrub make this highly garden-worthy if adequate space can be given. It grows tall and round, and should remain unpruned for best flowering effect. It may be difficult to locate sources for this shrub, however; it is not common in the trade.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Clovis, California
Wethersfield, Connecticut
Calhoun, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Athol, Idaho
Chicago, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Yorkville, Illinois
Harmony, Indiana
Logansport, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
West Branch, Iowa
Lindsborg, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Baltimore, Maryland
Brookeville, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Halifax, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Okemos, Michigan
Florence, Mississippi
Seligman, Missouri
Polson, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Iselin, New Jersey
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Bellmore, New York
North Olmsted, Ohio
Pataskala, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
North Scituate, Rhode Island
Conway, South Carolina
Concrete, Washington
Midland, Washington
Port Angeles, Washington
Salem, Wisconsin



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